3 min readJul 19, 2020


Suicide is a leading cause of death, especially in young people

Suicide accounts for 17.6% of all deaths among people aged 15–29 years in high income countries. It is thus a leading cause of death among people in this age group. Globally, 8.5% of deaths among young adults are due to suicide. Suicide at any age is a tragedy, but for families of young people who die by suicide it can be especially distressing. The prevalence of suicide is low in young people in England compared with other age groups; 4.4 deaths per 100 000 population in 15–19 year old versus 15.1 deaths per 100 000 population in 40–44 year old. Suicide, however, is a leading cause of mortality in young people, in whom many common causes in older age groups are unusual. In 2013, the suicide rate in young people in England was lower than that of 10 years ago, but this reduction occurred mainly in the early 2000s and there has been no decrease since about 2006. In Europe, the average suicide rate of children aged 10–19 years declined substantially during the 2000s.

Suicide risk factors in the general population, such as a history of self-harm, social isolation, and alcohol and drug misuse, are likely to be important in children and young people. There are various possible risk factors specific to the lives of children and young people that attract public and professional concern. These include exam stresses, bullying and online bullying. Studies of these factors are few, Research examining the effect of academic problems on suicidal behavior comes mainly from studies in east and southeast Asia.

In England, when a child dies, several possible investigations by official bodies can occur such as Child Death Overview Panels(CDOPs), the prisons and pro-baton Ombudsman(PPO), and the National Health Service(NHS).

Factors that increase the risk of suicide among young people

→ a psychological disorder, especially depression, bipolar disorder, and alcohol and drug use.

→ feelings of distress, irritability, or agitation.

→ feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness that often accompany depression.

→ a previous suicide attempt.

→ a family history of depression or suicide.

→ emotional, physical, or sexual abuse.

→ lack of a support network, poor relationships with parents or peers, and feelings of social isolation.

→ dealing with bisexuality or homosexuality in an unsupported family or community or hostile school environment.

Suicide among teens often happens after a stressful life event, such as problems at school, a breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend, the death of a loved one, a divorce.

Teens thinking about suicide might:

→ talk about suicide or death in general.

→ give hints that the might not be around anymore.

→ talk about feeling hopeless or feeling guilty.

→ pull away from friends or family.

→ write songs, poems, or letters about death, separation, and loss.

→ start giving away treasured possessions to siblings or friends.

→ lose the desire to take part in favorite things or activities.

→ have trouble concentrating or thinking clearly.

→ experience changes in eating or sleeping habits.

→ engage in risk-taking behaviors.

→ lose interest in school or sports.

Control on suicide deaths

→ Strengthen household financial security.

→ Housing stabilization policies.

→ Coverage of mental health conditions in health insurance policies.

→ Reduce provider shortages in under-served areas.

→ Safer suicide care through system change.

→ Reduce access to lethal means among persons at risk of suicide.

→ Organizational policies and culture.

→ Community based policies to reduce excessive alcohol use.

→ Peer norm programs.

→ Community engagement activities.

→ Social emotional learning programs.

→ Parenting skill and family relationship programs.

→ Gatekeeper training.

→ Treatment for people at risk of suicide.

→ Crisis intervention.

→ Treatment to prevent re-attempts.

→ Postvention.

→ Safe reporting and messaging about suicide.